First Published: 2007-05-05

Video: Iraq Yazidi girl stoned for loving Muslim

Cellphone videos show Iraq Yazidi minority mob stoning, kicking to death 17-year-old girl.


Middle East Online

Nobody tried to help her

ARBIL, Iraq - Cellphone videos have appeared on the Internet showing an Iraqi mob stoning and kicking to death a 17-year-old girl after she offended her minority community by eloping with a Muslim man.

Doaa Khalil Aswad was a member of northern Iraq's Yazidi religious sect but, according to local officials, she was murdered on April 7 by her brothers and uncles after she allegedly converted to Islam.

In the video -- rapidly spreading on the Internet -- Aswad is shown lying in the road as men kick her and throw a large lump of rock or concrete at her head.

Her face is drenched in blood but uniformed and armed officers of the Iraqi police stand by and do nothing to prevent the attack.

The slim, dark-haired girl is wearing a red tracksuit top and black underwear during the beating

At one point she struggles to sit up and cover herself, but a man kicks her in the face knocking her violently back to the ground.

The assault continues for several minutes and she does not appear to cry out nor resist her attackers.

Members of a large crowd can be seen filming the murder on their cellphones, some of them shouting or kicking out at the cowering victim.

Nobody tries to help her.

When news of Aswad's murder surfaced last month, it triggered an apparent revenge attack.

On April 23, gunmen stopped a bus carrying workers to her community, the village of Beshika 10 kilometres (six miles) outside Mosul, dragged out 23 Yazidis and shot them dead.

While it is a Kurdish speaking area, Beshika lies outside northern Iraq's Kurdish autonomous region.

Last week the United Nations' quarterly report on human rights in Iraq expressed serious concern over a rapid rise in so-called "honour killings" of women deemed to have betrayed their families in Kurdish Iraq.

Yazidis -- who number some 500,000, mainly in northern Iraq -- speak a dialect of Kurdish but follow their own religion and have their own cultural traditions.

They believe in God the creator but their main focus of worship is Malak Taus, the chief of the archangels, often represented by a peacock.

Followers of other religions know this angel as Lucifer or Satan, leading to popular prejudice that the secretive Yazidis are devil-worshippers.

Nevertheless, the community has survived for centuries alongside its Muslim and Christian neighbours. Now, however, sectarian war is gripping much of Iraq.


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